Live Review: The Duhks @ The Moonshiner’s Ball, Berea KY (5/15)

duhksThe festival’s MC, a member of the Blind Corn Liquor Pickers, informed the crowd they were in for a special treat when The Duhks hit the stage. His band had played with them nearly a decade ago at Owesnboro’s ROMP Festival, and it was the first time the Canadian band would be playing in Kentucky since.

The show certainly was a special one.

The Duhks have a knack for fusing many genres and being a jack of all trades. The band flowed seamlessly between their full band folk sound and the seductive serenading of lead singer Jessica Havey. Throughout the night they would occasionally even make the switch mid-song, throwing performances in different directions to the delight of an interested crowd.

Perhaps the only drawback from the show was a relatively small crowd. The Duhks did not make the stage until past 11, after a long day of drinking and dancing for most in attendance. Many may have called it a night in the tent, but the front of the crowd was solid for the Winnipeg collective. Those watching had their eyes glued to the band and continued to dance like the night was young.

The most interesting part of The Duhks’ concert dynamic is how many directions they can choose to go in. The band features a variety of instruments (banjo, fiddle, guitar, percussion, and vocals), but even more impressive is there ability to swing between genres. There was swing, gospel, barn-burning ballads, folk jams – you name it. The Duhks had you covered.

It would certainly take a lot of focus to pull it off, and clawhammer banjo player Leonard Podolak made it apparent when offered moonshine (as all other acts were throughout the day.)

“Some bands will do that before a show,” Podolak laughed. “Not The Duhks though.”

Overall, the band impressed a late-night crowd with their variety and abilities as a dynamic group. Ten years passed since the last time The Duhks played in Kentucky, but what a reunion it was.


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